Sorenstam Battles Back to Beat Pak in Finals


Annika Sorenstam rallied from four holes down Sunday to defeat South Korea's Se Ri Pak 1-up for the title at the World Ladies Match Play Championship at Sohsei Country Club in Japan. The 31-year-old Swede won for the seventh time this season and the 30th time in her eight years on the LPGA Tour.
Sorenstam collected the $144,000 first-place check to extend her lead in the race for the 2001 LPGA money title. She has amassed a total of $1,828,868 this season, while Pak, who took home $90,000 for her runner-up finish, is second in earnings with $1,623,009.
With two official events left on the 2001 schedule, Sorenstam is just $47,985 shy of the LPGA Tour single-season earnings record set by Karrie Webb last year.
Pak, 24, stormed out to a 4-up lead with wins at four of the first six holes of Sunday's finale. After the pair halved the seventh, Sorenstam took four consecutive holes to square the match by the 11th.
Sorenstam gained the lead at the 15th and held on by halving the final three holes.
The seven victories are a career-high for Sorenstam. Her best year in terms of number of wins prior to this season was 1997, when she titled six times. She won five times in 2000 en route to $1,404,948 in prize money, which now ranks as her second-best single-season haul.
In Sunday morning's semifinals, Sorenstam downed Canada's Lorie Kane 4-and-2, while Pak earned her spot in the championship match with a 6-and-4 drubbing of Yu-Chen Huang of Taiwan, a member of the Japan LPGA Tour.
Sorenstam was the top-seeded LPGA player from the 32-player field that started with 16 LPGA members and 16 golfers from the JLPGA. Pak, a five-time winner this season, was the No. 2 seed on the LPGA side.
Thursday's opening round featured 16 matches between LPGA Tour members and JLPGA players, with LPGA players winning 12 of those battles.
This event, the first match-play tournament on the LPGA schedule since 1992, replaced the World Ladies Challenge, an unofficial team event that pitted the LPGA against the JLPGA from 1979-2000. The LPGA dominated the series with a 19-3 record, although Japan did manage to win last year for the first time in 16 years.
Full-field scores from the CISCO World Ladies Match Play Championship